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The Magical Realism of Makoto Shinkai

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Acclaimed director Makoto Shinkai delivers an absolute masterpiece into our eyeballs with Weathering with You, his 12th feature and second US release. The film tells the story of Hodoka Morishima (Kotaro Daigo) and Hina Amano (Nana Mori), who start a business centered around the latter’s ability to stop the constant rain that has plagued the city. The film bears a number of distinct similarities to Shinkai’s previous feature, the body-swapping film Your Name, the most overt of them being its use of magical realism.

Hina can part the clouds (in Japanese, she is referred to as “天気の子,” or “Weather Girl,” the Japanese title of the film), which is a very decisive use of magical realism. It’s an inexplicable magic talent that just exists in this otherwise ordinary story. Shinkai takes great care to make sure the audience understands that his films are supposed to take place in a version of the real world. The Japan of his films, Tokyo in particular,........

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